Flood Mitigation Project to Rid Oshakati of Floods for Good

The ground breaking ceremony scheduled for the construction of the N$96 million Okatana Bridge and the traffic circle on the northern fringes of Oshakati should take place sometime during November and will signal the commencement of a major aspect of the Flood Mitigation Project for the town.

When proposed about three years ago it was estimated that the entire project could constitute an investment of about N$2 billion but this figure is now outdated due to the escalating cost of material as well as inflationary factors. The massive project, which aims to rid Oshakati of flood waters once and for all, includes the deepening and lining of the Okatana River systems and the servicing of land at Ekaku and Onawa for the relocation of residents.

In 2011, the Buro of Architecture (BAR) Namibia developed an ambitious plan to rid Oshakati of floods for good. The Buro conceived the idea is to build a dyke around Oshakati with controlled locks, as well as cleaning and deepening the natural, inundated depressions (oshanas) inside the town.

“This is a major project for the town of Oshakati and is crucial for the present and the future development of the town. We see it as a very important project not only for the residents of the town but also for potential investors”, said Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Oshakati Town Council, Orestus Shilunga. Responding to questions from New Era, Shilunga noted that part of the Flood Mitigation Project involves the relocation of Oshakati residents from construction and flood prone areas.

During an exclusive interview with New Era, Director of Buro of Architecture (BAR) Namibia, Martha Amupolo, explained that once the bridge is completed a 23 kilometre dyke will be completed within approximately 12 months. This dyke will basically divert the flood and rain water around the town of Oshakati and will also serve as a bypass to divert heavy traffic around the town.

“Due to the recurring flood problems in and around Oshakati the government called on permanent solutions for the annual flooding, which has been labeled as a national disaster by the state. In my opinion, the investment in the project is less than what government has spent annually on dealing with the national disaster”, said Amupolo.

She further explained that after cabinet approval was received the Bureau of Architecture Namibia commenced with the design of the project, which was divided into three phases, namely the construction of a dyke, the internal channel and the drainage water system. Together, these factors make up the total flood mitigation project.

According to Amupolo, the commencement of the construction of the dyke will first start with the building of bridges that will eventually cross the body of water that will be created by the dyke. “We cannot just look at it in isolation because it includes rain water, flood water, drainage water and water from the NamWater Canal, which overflows occasionally.

We decided to propose a Concept Master Plan. Within this concept, we have included information based on the results of studies we have conducted. For instance, we have looked at the flow of the water in the past and how we believe it will flow in the future. Our studies have revealed that the floods occur on a four yearly cycle”, noted Amupolo.

Bureau of Architecture Namibia is part of an international firm called Bureau of Architecture, which has its head office in Europe. The Namibian branch was registered about 4 years ago.

Source : New Era